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Troops treated like vermin, veterans tell Queen

#1
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/10/15/narmy315.xml

Troops treated like vermin, veterans tell Queen
By Stephen Adams

Last Updated: 2:43am BST 16/10/2007



Horrifically injured servicemen returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are being shown "the most detestable contempt" by the Government, two war veterans have said in a letter to the Queen.

Retired servicemen George Kay and Ricky Clitheroe delivered their letter to the Queen at Buckingham Palace

Speaking outside Buckingham Palace, where they handed the letter to an aide, Mr Clitheroe said he thought returning troops were being "treated like vermin".

The pair also accused the Government of sending troops to fight as "political mercenary forces" in "illegal wars".

Mr Clitheroe, a former corporal with the Parachute Regiment, from Catford in south London, said: "When we fought, we fought for King and country.

"Nowadays we feel sorry for the servicemen because they are fighting for politicians. But they come back and are treated like vermin."

Mr Kay, who served with the SAS and twice escaped German captivity in 1945, heavily criticised the lack of support for injured troops.

The former sergeant major said: "Why can't we have a naval hospital? The Ministry of Defence says there are insufficient numbers of wounded soldiers but we know there are over 800 wounded soldiers now as a result of Iraq and Afghanistan."

In the two-page letter, they criticised ministers for showing troops who had fought in "illegal wars... the most detestable contempt of all by callously ignoring the desperate needs of those luckless service men and women who suffer the horrific injuries of modern warfare, all too often caused by the irresponsible disregard for their basic needs in equipment."

They also accused "successive governments" of treating the Queen's constitutional position with "absolute contempt".

"We have witnessed your governments, and in particular your prime ministers, using the soldiers, sailors and airmen under your Majesty's command as political mercenary forces," they wrote.

Mr Clitheroe told The Daily Telegraph: "She's the governor. The Queen is in charge - it's Her Majesty's Forces."

Mr Kay, who joined the Army two days before his 16th birthday and fought the length of the Second World War, revealed he did not think his son Daniel should be fighting in the Middle East.

Corporal Daniel Kay, 28, has just started a six-month tour of Afghanistan, after serving in Iraq.

But Mr Kay said: "I don't think he should be out there, especially Iraq."

Their letter follows increasing pressure on the Government to improve a range of welfare issues for troops, including accommodation and injury compensation.

Problems highlighted by The Daily Telegraph include the level of compensation paid to injured troops, the lack of dedicated medical facilities for many of them, the poor standard of much military accommodation, the lack of a specific military award for those serving in war-torn southern Afghanistan, and the poor official reception from councils for those returning home.

The paper also campaigned on the problems with lack of resources to ensure military inquests are concluded more swiftly.

Last month the Royal British Legion launched its campaign to ensure the Government respected the Military Covenant, the agreement by which the state promises to look after troops and their families because they risk their lives for the country.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: "All correspondence is opened and read by the Queen's office. All correspondence receives a reply from Buckingham Palace."
 

Biped

LE
Book Reviewer
#4
Outstanding work. Directed to the right place, but how sickening that WW2 veterans should have to go directly to Buckingham Palace to virtually beg HM to do something. Why is it that our elected so-called representatives fail to see the writing on the wall?
 
#6
Biped said:
Outstanding work. Directed to the right place, but how sickening that WW2 veterans should have to go directly to Buckingham Palace to virtually beg HM to do something. Why is it that our elected so-called representatives fail to see the writing on the wall?
Because they have never served.
Their idea of 'service' consists of gaining power and influence in order to line their own pockets and ensure a rich and comfortable life for themselves. They are all professional politicians and have no concept of service.
 
#7
AndyWade said:
Biped said:
Outstanding work. Directed to the right place, but how sickening that WW2 veterans should have to go directly to Buckingham Palace to virtually beg HM to do something. Why is it that our elected so-called representatives fail to see the writing on the wall?
Because they have never served.
Their idea of 'service' consists of gaining power and influence in order to line their own pockets and ensure a rich and comfortable life for themselves. They are all professional politicians and have no concept of service.
Therein lies the root of a lot of our problems. The people ruling the land do not/have never lived in the same world as ordinary citizens.
 

Biped

LE
Book Reviewer
#8
AndyWade said:
Biped said:
Outstanding work. Directed to the right place, but how sickening that WW2 veterans should have to go directly to Buckingham Palace to virtually beg HM to do something. Why is it that our elected so-called representatives fail to see the writing on the wall?
Because they have never served.
Their idea of 'service' consists of gaining power and influence in order to line their own pockets and ensure a rich and comfortable life for themselves. They are all professional politicians and have no concept of service.
Funny that, in a sad way. These politicos tour around their constituencies seeking election to high office through the votes of the electorate, and it never seems to occur to them that the job they seek election to is ALL ABOUT SERVICE TO THE NATION. Perhaps something needs to change if this is something they are not aware of.
 
#9
I agree, the desire to be an MP should automaticaly exclude a person from standing in an election.
Being serious however, this is becoming a problem. All that professional politicians learn to do is tow the party line, bleat 'on message' and criticize the opposing parties. It is no wonder that younger generations have lost interest in politics, and that is sad when you thnik how many people have fought and died for democracy! A bit Ironic.
It will be interesting to see how HM the Q deals with this. Cannot be seen to interfere with the running of the country and yet (perhaps) has a duty of care to HER armed forces.
I fully agree with the statement that the forces seem to serve the politicians these days and not the Monarch.
Well done gents.
 
#11
Excellent work by these two gentlemen. The pity is that HM will not be able to do much - as she's constitutionally hamstrung. However, she can certainly embarrass and harrass the government, simply by asking questions and insisting on answers - and I sincerely hope she does. It will be interesting to see if this is reflected in the Royal Family's more public speeches and activities.
 
#13
Unfortunately, it wouldn't be in anyones' best interests for HM the Q or her office to embarrass the Government. I'm sure she (and they) will have other ways of showing their views if they wish to, though...
 
#16
oldbaldy said:
eveyuk said:
Perhaps a Royal British Legion London protest march is called for?
How about the 11th November?
No, the 11th is sacred and should be kept clear of politics. Thats a date for honouring the fallen.

Any other day, go for it, maybe even the state opening of parliament?
 
#17
What Tosh. The wars are legal (individual opinions don't count, until shown otherwise in a court of law they are legal acts of a sovereign government), if badly planned and ,in my view, massively under-resourced.

If memory serves, the oath of allegiance includes appointed ministers, who have been responsible for the declaration of war and it's prosecution for centuries. These same politicians have treated the Army as an instrument to do their bidding at the lowest possible cost throughout this time. The army has never been well treated and probably never will be. Any one who joined expecting otherwise or believing in the covenant were fooling themselves.

We are currently to be used, not in the defence of the realm, but in what one might call small colonial wars. This has been our main activity through the last two centuries. Throughout this time when individuals joined the colours and were sent where the government of the day wanted them.

Finally, with all due respect to Mr Kay, his son is a 28 years old and a member of the British Army. Why should the views his parents have on his whereabouts be any concern to the national press.
 
#18
That's exactly the point, any parade would not be political it would be honouring and standing up for the fallen. The maimed and injured from recent conflicts are in that bracket.

The fact that this year the 11th is on the Sunday could make it more poignant
 
#19
To a politician service means self service. This government in particular looks at the service vote, adds on wives and parents, sees them spread the length and breadth of the country and couldn't care less. They are the scum of the earth.
 
#20
Old and Timid

Who said the wars were legal? - an old chum of the Prime Minister who re-wrote his legal opinion after a stern talking to about party loyalty.

It is not just a band of disgruntled soldiers who have raised the matter of the broken covenant. It is the RBL - hardly a bunch of uppity whingeing radicals. When in history have they taken such a strong stance and been supported by such senior officers.

I joined the Army nearly 30 years ago and can never remember the Armed Forces being treated so shamefully. My mother who married a soldier some 20 years before that, thinks the same and that from a life-long Labour Party member.

If you do not understand the sense of betryal felt by the forces, I suggest you clear off to some other site where your views may mean something and be appreciated - www.labourparty.com might be a good search point

Edited for spelling and to add "T*SSER"
 

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